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Route 66 Sings Thanks to National Geographic

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Musical Road

Route 66 is the quintessential American highway, and its legendary status means that there have been several books, movies, and a very famous song written about it. But the highway itself has never sung, unless you count road noise as a beautiful song. Well, we should say that is hasn’t sung before today.

The television show Crowd Control airs on the National Geographic channel, and it takes a closer look at what exactly is behind human behavior and society. For an episode focused on rules and doing the right thing, host Daniel Pink discusses ways to make drivers follow laws of the road while driving without them realizing it. To trick drivers on a stretch of road on Route 66 in New Mexico, the show added grooves to the highway that make road noise and sing a song. In this case, the song was “America the Beautiful”. The catch? Drivers had to maintain the speed limit to make the song sound right.

The grooves on the highway were actually constructed by heating the asphalt and stamping it with a metal template to create depressions in the road. If you had no idea what it was, it resembles the traditional rumble strips on the shoulder of the road used to warn sleepy drivers. Each note is determined by how close together the groves are in the road, with the groves getting closer together as notes get higher. The metal plates were made by San Bar Construction Corp in New Mexico, and according to the craftsmen making the plates, there are only about five millimeters difference in spacing to achieve each note, so the work was very precise.

To top it all off, at the end of the singing stretch of highway, Route 66 sings the iconic Nationwide Insurance jingle.

News Source: Nerdist